Christmas Perfume Masterclasses: Ainslie Walker + Nick Smart


Post by Portia


Hey gang,

OMG! Christmas is almost here!! For many small businesses they are so busy that they don’t have a moment to ask themselves what they will do with and for the staff this year as a Thank you. The eternal question “What are we going to do for our Christmas Party?” has just found an extraordinary answer. Why not treat your team to a Perfume Masterclass?

Christmas Perfume Masterclasses

Ainslie Walker + Nick Smart

Here’s how we think it. It usually costs about $150-300/head to do something fun and fabulous for your Christmas Party. Why not take your people to a Perfume Masterclass and give them each a $100 Gift Voucher towards a fragrance at their Libertine Perfume Masterclass. There will be a glass of bubbles, some nibbles and they’ll really learn something fun and helpful over the 2 hours. They’ll learn about their perfume preferences.

Sydney Libertine Masterclass #3

Great for the girls and the guys, who doesn’t want to look a little more savvy when shopping for their next fragrance. Ainslie and Nick will help with your fragrant vocabulary too so you will have an easier time explaining to sales assistants exactly what you want in a scent for yourself or loved ones.

Maximum of 15 people per class

AINSLIE_WALKER Libertine Masterclass

Karen Gilbert: 1 Day Masterclass : Photo Essay

Hi there Perfumistas!!

Last Saturday saw a crew of us doing a One Day Fragrant Masterclass with the amazing Karen Gilbert. To say I learned a lot is a complete understatement, Karen is so knowledgeable, has the most incredibly diverse history within the fragrance industry and has the gift of making everything seem so simple and gives clear and concise instructions. I work best under those conditions and it seemed that everyone was drinking in the knowledge and we had a super fun time.

Karen Gilbert: 1 Day Masterclass : Photo Essay

Topics Covered In The Class:

  • The History of Perfumery
  • The Sense of Smell and What it Means To Us
  • The Beginners Guide to Training your Nose
  • Classifying Fragrances
  • Top, Middle and Base notes and Why They Are Important
  • Creating Accords
  • Practical Blending Techniques
  • Naturals Vs Synthetics

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #3

The first part of the day was meeting us, giving us some theory, history, insider gossip and news, information that has taken me a few days to percolate because it was completely jam packed. We broke for lunch, which was Sydney pub fare and that gave us a moment to really connect with each other and bond.

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #5

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #6

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #7

Then we went back to the classroom and started meeting accords, molecules, notes and learned a very basic how to for fragrance creation. Karen had brought both natural and synthetics for us to learn about, which was a total bonus. We were able to smell 3 different aldehydes, a bunch of fragrant fillers and smoothers and some that could increase diffusion and volume. It was engrossing stuff and we had so many questions. Each question led to 10 others so we were getting knowledge that only the rarest few are privy to. I cannot tell you enough what an excellent experience the day was or how giving and nurturing Karen Gilbert is. To be honest, I don’t know how Karen supplied so much stuff for the ridiculously small amount of $295 for the day. It was overwhelming how much choice we had when it came to creating our personal fragrances.

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #8

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #9

Mine ended up being these accords/notes:
Top: Coriander, lemon, Virginian cedar
Heart: Ylang ylang, orange blossom absolute, listea cubeba (May chang), P.E.A.
Base: Labdanum, galbanum, oakmoss

PEA is a synthetic aromachemical that gives lift and brightness to the naturals. Often used in perfumery apparently to add volume and enable diffusion. I used 4 drops and the difference to heart of the frag was astonishing.

Karen Gilbert Masterclass 2014 #11Photo Donated Ainslie Walker

I have been spritzing my fragrance quite a bit and am so happy with the outcome. As I said on Facebook: Perhaps Malle, YSL or Hermes will never be knocking on my door asking for recipes but I think it’s a rather lovely, simple fragrance.

From a one day class I wasn’t expecting to learn so much. I think it will help enormously with my own purchasing in the future and definitely gives me some insights that I will put towards my blogging. I would take the class again in a heartbeat, I know that I will learn even more next time.

Portia xx

Karen Gilbert in Sydney!! September 20 2014

Hey There APJ Crew in Sydney,

One of my mates Karen Gilbert is coming to Sydney in September, so save the date Saturday September 20. I have begged and cajoled her into hosting her 1 Day Introduction To Perfumery Class here in Sydney. This is the event that Karen runs worldwide and it will be her first ever training day in Australia. A once off, one time only deal with someone who has worked in the fragrance industry for years as a Perfume Evaluator at IFF, then on to working as a perfumer herself and consulting for some of the world’s best known brands. Now Karen is writing, fragrancing, teaching and traveling the world. We are so lucky that she has agreed to host her 1 Day Introduction To Perfumery Class here in Sydney.

The day will be held upstairs in a wonderful old Sydney hotel that is famous in the area for its delicious food. Lunch will be provided; simple, hearty fare like creamy Italian pasta or Thai beef salad and there will be loads of fresh crusty bread.

The first FIVE people to book will get an autographed copy of  Karen’s latest book Perfume: The Art and Craft of Fragrance. I will be buying these and getting Karen to sign them because I think the day will be splendid and the books will be a wonderful momento.

Just so you all know, I will be receiving no kickback for organising this event and that Karen is doing a very special price because it’s for me. Normally in the UK a day with Karen will cost guests around £200 each (that’s over AUD$350) and having Karen teach a corporate day is beyond my wildest dreams. You can book here 1 Day Introduction To Perfumery Class<<JUMP. Also, there are a very small amount of guest places for this event because Karen wants to make sure everyone gets as much of her attention as possible.

Can’t wait to spend the day with you getting a better understanding of fragrance and how the industry works. We will have a great time together, promise.
Portia xx

Karen Gilbert Natural Beauty BookDepositoryBookDepository AUD$19 delivered worlwide

Karen Gilbert Art Craft Fragrance BookDepositoryBookDepository AUD$16 delivered worldwide

1 Day Introduction To Perfumery Class

I’m so excited to be running this 1 day perfumery class in Sydney Australia!

Do you want to create your own fragrance or just learn more about perfumery?

I have been wanting to run a class for my Aussie readers for ages so when Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies suggested fitting one into my September trip to Sydney I jumped at the chance.

For those of you who have never met me before you can read more about my background HERE

All my classes are very in depth with lots of industry insider tips as well as lots and lots of hands on practical experience. Many students who have done classes with other teachers and are still stuck find that even after the 1 day class it all makes sense and falls into place.  I tend to tailor each day to the experience level of the group so each class is a unique experience. This class is suitable for beginners or more advanced students

Karen Gilbert Perfume

1 Day Introduction To Perfumery Class

This introductory workshop in perfumery will give you the opportunity to gain a basic understanding of the history of perfumery and then work with a variety of materials to design your own fragrances. You will have plenty of hands on experience in blending and creating your own accords and finished fragrances.  All materials and equipment are provided and no previous experience is necessary. All you need is imagination and a love of perfumery.

Topics Covered In The Class:

  • The History of Perfumery
  • The Sense of Smell and What it Means To Us
  • The Beginners Guide to Training your Nose
  • Classifying Fragrances
  • Top, Middle and Base notes and Why They Are Important
  • Creating Accords
  • Practical Blending Techniques
  • Naturals Vs Synthetics

By The End The Class You Will:

  • Have an understanding of the historical significance of fragrance
  • Have learned about the different ingredients used in perfumery
  • Easily be able to classify aromatic ingredients into the different fragrance families
  • Understand how accords are created
  • Have practised blending top middle and base notes
  • Have created your first fragrance

You can book here 1 Day Introduction To Perfumery Class<<JUMP

REMINDER: Michael Edwards Fragrance Masterclass July/August 2014

Hi there Frag Buddies,

In case you needed a reminder:

Here is one of the most exciting things I’ve had to tell you about, EVER! Michael Edwards will be hosting Fragrance Masterclasses in Melbourne & Sydney later in 2014. I’m so excited I’m fit to burst. The man inducted into the Fragrance Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009 for “the impact Edwards’ work has had across the whole fragrance industry”, Australian and Internationally. His book Fragrances of the World is in it’s 30th year of publication, from “what started as a small guide for retailers with just 323 fragrances has become the industry’s fragrance ‘bible’”.

Fragrance Masterclass with Michael Edwards July/August 2014


Everyone who meets Michael Edwards tells me that he is a very friendly gentleman, so happy to share his knowledge, his passion and extend the hand of friendship. I can’t wait to meet him at the Sydney Masterclass. To get one of the very exclusive seats at this once in a lifetime event Michael Edwards Masterclass<<JUMP

michael-edwardsMichael Edwards

Melbourne 22 July 9am – 5pm

Sydney 21 August9am – 5pm

Price : AUD $645.00   Inc. GST (Single registration)
(2 or more registrations AUD $595.00  Inc. GST)
Registration fee includes:
  • Light refreshments and working lunch
  • Certificate upon completion

Attend the workshop and you will have the opportunity to buy Michael’s Fragrances of the World 2014 guidebook valued at $195 at HALF PRICE – only $97.50. Provided at the workshop.

Hopefully we’ll see some of you there, I think there will be a crew of APJ writers and readers. It will be a wonderful way to learn more about our passion, and you’ll make some buddies too hopefully.
Portia xx

The Osmotheque: Versailles: France 2014 Photo Essay

Hey Gang,

I wanted to share the most wonderful photo that was taken of Jean Kerleo, Patricia de Nicolai, Michael and I at the end of our incredible time at the Osmotheque. This is one of my life highlights. Meeting the perfumer, Jean Kerleo, that created 1000 and Sublime for Jean Patou and Knowing for Estee Lauder and Patricia de Nicolai, one of my favourite independent perfumers in a place that keeps many fragrances that have been lost and the memories of how they were produced. I cannot tell you enough how moving and magical the day was.

Jean Kerleo, Patricia de Nicolai M + P Osmotheque 2014


Anyone can book a course at the Osmotheque, we booked an English course (which was very easy to organise) and it was an incredible afternoon. Our contact was Florence Crenn and Florence could not have been more lovely or helpful. We organised to pay cash on the day but there are other ways to do it.

We chose to spend the morning at Versailles Palace and do the Osmotheque in the afternoon. Perfect choice. We caught a train from Paris to Versailles and then a cab from Versailles Palace to the Osmotheque. From the Osmotheque we walked to a different station to catch the train back to Paris, don’t buy a return ticket.

The Osmotheque: Versailles: France 2014

Well, how was our day? What went on? Jean Kerleo, ex Helena Rubenstein and Jean Patou perfumer and founder of the Osmotheque, was our host with the help of his buddy and translator Will. It was completely mind blowing and the work they do at the Osmotheque to archive and house the world’s most famous fragrances in their original formulations is not only extraordinary it is necessary for the continuation of perfumer knowledge. Also, the Osmotheque needs people like you and us to go and do the classes so they have money to continue the great work they are doing.

If you are a French speaker you can buy a ticket to many forum classes with the teachers at the Osmotheque, including Jean Kerleo and Patricia de Nicolai. If you have English you must book a class with an English speaking teacher. We were asked to pick a number of fragrances that we’d like to smell in their original form (L’Origan, Iris Gres, Shocking and Patou Pour Homme were among out favourites today) and your teacher will bring a few others that they think may be of interest (Suprise sniffs included nearly 60 year old deer musk, Crepe de Chine, L’Heure Blue and 1000). You get a 2 hour class and it was just Michael and I. One of the most incredible fragrance experiences of my life.

Michael Osmotheque 2014

Portia Osmotheque 2014

Jean Kerleo Osmotheque 2014

Jean Kerleo, Michael History.

I got the feeling throughout the day that Michael’s incredible ability to smell nuances and notes in fragrance got us so much extra lovely treatment. Jean Kerleo and Michael were really having a great old chat and I was a bit of flotsam eddying in their fragrant streams of consciousness. It was like watching two science geeks talking shop and I think I learned more in that afternoon about smells, scents, perfume and fragrance than in my whole life leading up to it. A lot of it pops back into my head if I am reading something on a blog that has something to do with their conversation. Finally a piece of puzzle will fit or a concept will become clear.

We got a touche wit every fragrance named and individually wrapped in a plastic paper bag. Also we bought an Osmotheque book each which is FULL of interesting and useful history and classification knowledge.

Original Musk Oil Tincture 1950s

Jean Kerleo Back Fridges Osmotheque 2014

Michael, Portia, Drinks 2014

Printemps Guerlain Window

Michael Worn Out Paris 2014

As you can see by the end of the day Michael was completely stuffed. Stuffed, satiated and full of the joys of adventure.

Want to read more about the experience? Bois de Jasmin and Versailles Tourism

The Osmotheque is a must do for any perfume lover. Get in touch with Florence Crenn

Portia xx

Mini Perfume Making Course with Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

Post by Gabriella
Last Saturday, I was given a terrific opportunity to embrace some scented creativity by the one and only Miss Portia. She couldn’t attend a perfume making course with aromatherapist and creator of the Aromatique Essentials perfume line, Julie Nelson, due to work commitments and nominated me to go in her place.
The session was at Julie’s house in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, about two hours’ drive west from Sydney. I was graciously offered a lift by the wonderful Catherine du Peloux Menagé, a perfume consultant and the organiser of the Sydney Perfume Lovers meetup group. Catherine and I had met many years ago at the launch of the Frederic Malle range in Sydney and I was one of her first perfume consulting ‘guinea pigs’. We have recently become reacquainted and it was wonderful to share and swap perfume stories on the trip.

Mini Perfume Making Course with

Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

During the morning session, Julie described her love for natural perfumery and the reasons why she took up aromatherapy and the natural way. If you have been reading the blog, you’ll know that the main catalyst behind Julie’s vocation was her daughter, who was born premature and then diagnosed with a rare lung condition. Julie’s story of all the struggles and love particularly resonated with me as I was also three months premature back in 1974 and also given not much chance. Listening to her, I felt very thankful to be happy and healthy some 39 years later. Catherine, Julie and I were joined by a quartet of lovely bright young things: the bubbly Dimi and Monique, the inquisitive Sophy, and Teal, a lovely lass who had decided to embrace aromatherapy after coming to a crossroads in her life.
Julies Class #4Photo: Homemade meringues with edible rose petals for morning tea
After lunch, we got on to the creative part of the session: making our own scents. As someone who has loved contemporary perfumes for a long time, I was intrigued about exploring essential oils and having the chance to create my own scent rather than writing about others. Julie brought out her vast collection, a virtual menagerie of smells for the enthusiast. I was especially keen to try the musty herbaceous oakmoss and of course, the tuberose, which didn’t disappoint with the sharp mentholated opening segueing into buttery creamy goodness.
Julies Class #3Photo: Some of the oils we were working with
Before I start on the creative process, I should point out that while natural perfume making is about combining essential oils, it changes depending on what base or carrier you use. Julie had said earlier that she used oils such as jojoba or a mix of almond, sunflower and macadamia for perfumes to be dabbed on the skin. For spray versions, as the ones we were creating, a variety of bases could be used from vodka to spring water, floral waters or a hydrosol, which is the first 30 per cent of a floral water gleaned from the distillation process, such as rose or orange blossom.
Julies Class #2Photo: The lovely Julie explaining her process
Before we started mixing, Julie asked us five questions to work out what kind of blend would suit us: What was our favourite colour? What was our favourite food? What were our favourite types of smells? What were our favourite leisure activities? What feeling did we want to have wearing the perfume we had created?
My answers were: red; cheese and anything that satiated the umami taste; white florals, aldehydes and aromatic greens; reading walking and anything perfume related; confidence.
Julie advocated a blend of petitgrain, jasmine, ylang ylang, oakmoss and patchouli for me and a number of other oils for the other ladies in the group. We then got to work. My resulting perfume was rather lovely, a very soft and pretty white floral with a slight aromatic tinge from the petitgrain and oakmoss and anchored by a dry chocolately patchouli.
Julie Class #1Photo: Monique and Dimi at work
We had terrific fun blending and sniffing and perfecting, all capped off with a beautiful glass of champagne with raspberries. All in all, a fabulous day out and some wonderful insights into an area of perfumery I hadn’t explored before.
Have you tried natural perfumes or do you use essential oils? Have you tried any of Julie’s line?
With much love till next time,
M x